March 25, 2020

Earlier today, as part of the Federal Government’s Emergency Response Plan to the COVID-19 outbreak, a change was announced to the previously unveiled Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The Department of Finance has announced Federal legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in support of workers and to encourage businesses to keep their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic period. This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit (ECB) and Emergency Support Benefit (ESB).

The CERB would cover Canadians who;

  • have lost their job,
  • are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone with cCOVID-19,
  • are working parents at home without pay caring for children who are sick or unable to attend school and daycare due to closures,
  • are still employed, but are not receiving income due to COVID-19 work disruptions.

The CERB would be available to employees, contract workers and self-employed individuals not otherwise eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB.

Canadians already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of March 25, 2020 will receive benefits and should NOT apply for the CERB.

If EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they may apply for the CERB once existing EI benefits cease, if unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply.

Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

Application details for the CERB will be available through the CRA and Service Canada website beginning the first week of April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

According to the Federal Government, workers can expect to receive their payments within 10 days of submitting their application. The Federal Government’s New Release on the new CERB is available here. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Questions about how this new program and how it may assist you, your family or colleagues can be directed to Jonathan Tucker.

Jonathan Tucker

Jonathan Tucker